Travel

What car is "or similar" in the rental world?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 23rd, 2017 1:54 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Nov 27, 2003
269 posts
9 upvotes
London

What car is "or similar" in the rental world?

If you've ever rented a car, you know that your choice is always a car name and then the similar phrase. For eg., Full Size Toyota Camry or similar.

Sometimes I actually get what is the noted car. Once I asked for a Toyota Corolla, and got a Corolla. Once a RAV4, got a RAV4.
However, more often than not, I get the "similar"
Once asked for a Toyota Camry, got a Dodge Charger (in Vegas)
Asked for a Mercedes C Class, got a diesel Infiniti Q50 (in Scotland)
Asked for a Ford Fusion, got a Hyndai Sonata (Orlando)

I have done a bunch of googling, but I can't seem to find a site that lists the current fleet of a particular vendor.

This summer I am going to Scotland again, and through Enterprise, I have asked for a Ford Mondeo (Fusion) or similar.
Thing is, with Peugeots and Renaults and Vauxhalls and Skodas and Seats etc. running around Europe, I don't really know what exactly is similar to a Mondeo.

Does anyone know of a website for this information?

P.S. I checked the Ford UK website and apparently the Mondeo starts off with a 1.0L Turbo 3. The Mighty One-Point-Oh.
I know that is an engine in the Fiesta here. Can you imagine North Americans buying a Fusion with a 1.0L? Um no. 2.7L Twin Turbo V6 please!
Stand and Deliver! I have two pistols here... I know one of them isn't loaded anymore, but the other one is, so that's one of you dead for sure... well just about for sure........
15 replies
Deal Guru
May 29, 2006
10272 posts
2863 upvotes
in my rental experience, it depend on where you rent from, for example i usually use enterprise, and they get all thier cars from the local Chevy dealer. so it will be a similar sized chevy car.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36182 posts
10315 upvotes
Ottawa
"Similar" often means a vehicle that has the same passenger and luggage capacity. It is size of vehicle, not engine size.
Also, engines (drivetrains) in European vehicles are not the same as they are here. They have different horsepower and are geared differently. A 1.1 in Europe spec will perform much better.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
12095 posts
2248 upvotes
Mississauga
I rented a Hyundai Elantra or similar in Nanaimo and got a Buick Lacrosse. A couple days later in a Vancouver, I got a Honda Accord instead of the Elantra.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36182 posts
10315 upvotes
Ottawa
Talamasca wrote: I rented a Hyundai Elantra or similar in Nanaimo and got a Buick Lacrosse. A couple days later in a Vancouver, I got a Honda Accord instead of the Elantra.
Upgrades to the next vehicle "size" or "class" are very common, especially at busy agencies such as airports. Also, if you rent frequently or are a member of their loyalty program, you often will get an upgrade. I get upgraded almost all the time.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 9, 2003
18549 posts
2926 upvotes
Langley
Flyertalk has this info catalogued in the rental car section of their forums.

Here's a bit of the one for Avis:

Class E: Full Size
Avis Example: Ford Fusion
Buick Regal
Chevrolet Impala Limited (old body style)
Chevrolet Malibu
Dodge Charger
Honda Accord
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Mazda 6
Mitsubishi Galant
Nissan Altima
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Passat


Class G: Premium
Avis Example: Ford Taurus LTD
Chrysler 300
Buick LaCrosse
Chevrolet Impala
Dodge Challenger
Dodge Charger
Hyundai Azera
Kia Cadenza
Lincoln MKZ
Toyota Avalon
Volkswagen CC (Avis lists it as VOLK CC2S 4DR)
Volvo S60
Volvo V60
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9309 posts
1355 upvotes
Montreal, QC
Usually it's the "class" of vehicle so a compact car, a subcompact car, a midsize, an SUV etc. As Pete_Coach also said, with similar capacity and seating.

Usually if there's substitutions (without the guy at the counter upselling you), it's usually because the rental location has too many or not enough of a particular vehicle or type so they'll try substituting.

I used to work at a car rental downtown so we didn't have much capacity in terms of cars (we could only park at most 24 cars maybe) and we'd routinely get 100-200 rentals in a day during summer so we'd have to grab them as the day went on and sometimes we wouldn't have the right vehicles on hand.
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10370 posts
590 upvotes
New-Brunswick
I think they use 'Or similar' because different rental places for the same company have cars from different brands. Website shows Ford, they have Hyundai, it shows Hyundai, they have Toyota... so 'Or similar' lets them give you whatever they have in the same size class. I would never reserve based on the car listed on the website as I've never actually wound up with the same car they advertised!

The last time I was in Orlando with Alamo rentals it was 'take whatever you want in this line of cars' where you had 7-8 different cars in 3 sizes and then when they ran out it was 'next line over' which was all mini vans...

Even small airports aren't immune to this, in Deer Lake NL we booked a compact and wound up with a Dodge Journey.
Member
May 30, 2015
263 posts
143 upvotes
GTA
Since this thread seems to be about rental cars, I though that I might get an answer for my question, here.

What would be the best "strategy" to get the car that I would like from a rental place?
I know that they always say that they cannot offer any warranty that you will get any particular car, maybe because they cannot predict if that particular car will be available.

For this summer, I was thinking to take a long road trip (about 4500 Km return trip, starting point in GTA) during about 30 days time frame. Part of the trip would be in US.
I would be interested in a Toyota Camry because it is comfortable and has a good gas mileage.
I was thinking to approach some of the staff (or maybe the Manager) at an Enterprise next to me and see how they would react.
Not sure how would they respond to the argument that this is also a good business for them because I will practically rent the car for a month.

Any suggestions about the best approach to increase my chances?
Thx
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36182 posts
10315 upvotes
Ottawa
pishta wrote: Since this thread seems to be about rental cars, I though that I might get an answer for my question, here.

What would be the best "strategy" to get the car that I would like from a rental place?
I know that they always say that they cannot offer any warranty that you will get any particular car, maybe because they cannot predict if that particular car will be available.

For this summer, I was thinking to take a long road trip (about 4500 Km return trip, starting point in GTA) during about 30 days time frame. Part of the trip would be in US.
I would be interested in a Toyota Camry because it is comfortable and has a good gas mileage.
I was thinking to approach some of the staff (or maybe the Manager) at an Enterprise next to me and see how they would react.
Not sure how would they respond to the argument that this is also a good business for them because I will practically rent the car for a month.

Any suggestions about the best approach to increase my chances?
Thx
You can always ask to get a specific car. if they don't have it on the lot, if you are willing to wait, then they should be able to accommodate you.
More importantly, rentals are generally restricted to the province you rent in. You will have to ensure that the rental agency approves you taking the vehicle out of the Province and very specifically out of the Country. You may have to pay more for the rental as well as additional insurance.....if they rent to you to do that trip at all.
Oh and, unlimited mileage is not really unlimited, check that out too.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 19, 2001
8646 posts
2343 upvotes
If you are taking it for a month it wont be a big deal if you have to wait a bit for something acceptable to come in. I've rented a camry once, but I dont see many Toyotas on rental lots here. Far more Korean and Chrysler brands, fewer toyotas/hondas. Once in awhile someone is waiting for a specific car that is expected back or come back to swap for the car they wanted. They are good at trying to accommodate people

I think you could get unlimted km/no geographic restriction at avis/budget through costco.
Member
May 30, 2015
263 posts
143 upvotes
GTA
Pete_Coach wrote: You can always ask to get a specific car. if they don't have it on the lot, if you are willing to wait, then they should be able to accommodate you.
More importantly, rentals are generally restricted to the province you rent in. You will have to ensure that the rental agency approves you taking the vehicle out of the Province and very specifically out of the Country. You may have to pay more for the rental as well as additional insurance.....if they rent to you to do that trip at all.
Oh and, unlimited mileage is not really unlimited, check that out too.
Thank you for your response.

- I did not use rental cars too often. Just a few times, 7-8 years ago, in US when we had better times with the exchange rate US$/CAD$. This was mostly on W coast in California, Washington State, and Oregon. Fairly long trips and I rented the car for 2-3 weeks each time. Last time was in NL in 2015. It was always in the Summer.
- In California (2009) Alamo gave me a Chevrolet Impala. This was basically my first time renting a car for a time frame longer than a day or two. When I booked online, I think that I booked a Standard size, but when I arrived at the rental office they "upgraded" me to the Impala. Probably they did not have a Standard car available. I avoided airport locations after reading online that they charge more. The Alamo office was close to downtown San Francisco. Impala proved to be a good car for long trips.
- Then, in 2010, in Seattle I got a Toyota Camry from Enterprise. It was also a comfortable car and, similar with Impala, it was pretty soft an quiet ride.
- Two years ago, in NL, I booked an Intermediate SUV with Avis, for about two weeks. They gave me a Ford Flex (Not sure if this is considered Intermediate. It looked more like a Full Size SUV). The car was pretty new (2200 Km when I started) but it was using more gas than the sedans. I think it was taking at least 13L/100 Km. But the car had a lot of features, including satellite radio which was good when regular radio signal was not available in remote areas or between mountains.

- Every time when I rented, I basically took what they gave me. It turned out fine. But also I did not know too much about cars and different models and features.
- One of the things I read, even before renting the first time, was that the policy of all rental companies is not ever promise to you a certain car or even model. This seems logical as they cannot probably satisfy all the wishes for so many people.
- I know that technically I can ask them, but I cannot really blame them if they stick with the official line of not making such promises.
- In my mind, at list at this point, the only chance is to find maybe a friendly staff or manager who might be willing to help with getting a certain car, despite the fact that is not the official policy.
- A few years ago, when I was looking to buy a car, I tried to see if i can rent a Ford Fusion in order to get a better impression about that particular car which was one model that I was considering to buy. It was pretty much impossible to get one of, I think, two Fusion cars they had at the Enterprise near me. I did not try too hard, but I went two or three times there before I gave up.
- I only rented cars with unlimited mileage. In US, they were OK with driving the state where you rented from and the neighboring states (e.g. CA, NV, AZ).
- I never used a rented car to cross the border between US and Canada. Actually, I read online that it is better to avoid taking a car rented in US into Canada because of potential problems at the border. Probably even more so now with the changes. It seems to be safer to rent from Canada and return the car also back in Canada. something that I will need to check for sure.
- Thank you for pointing out that we need to pay attention to details when they say "unlimited mileage" and find out what exactly means.
- And, of course, I would tell them about my intention to cross into US and back into Canada.
- Hopefully they will not apply extra charges, but also need to look into that.

- Interesting idea that you say that they might be willing to bring the car that I am looking for form another lot if they don't have it there. It will be almost unbelievable that they are even considering this.
But I will keep this in mind and maybe suggest that to them, if they say they do not have one at their location.

Thx
Last edited by pishta on Feb 22nd, 2017 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Member
May 30, 2015
263 posts
143 upvotes
GTA
zoro69 wrote: If you are taking it for a month it wont be a big deal if you have to wait a bit for something acceptable to come in. I've rented a camry once, but I dont see many Toyotas on rental lots here. Far more Korean and Chrysler brands, fewer toyotas/hondas. Once in awhile someone is waiting for a specific car that is expected back or come back to swap for the car they wanted. They are good at trying to accommodate people

I think you could get unlimted km/no geographic restriction at avis/budget through costco.
Thank you for your response.
Yes, I would not mind approaching the rental office way ahead of time and waiting for the right car.
you might be right about the availability of certain models (e.g. Toyota Camry). last time when I rented a sedan 7-8 years ago and maybe the available models are different now. I will need to ask. My second choice, at least now, would be Impala and this is something that is probably easier to find as it seems to be one of the staple cars for rental companies. One good tip which I read online is to try to get the highest trim (i.e. for Impala 2017, to try to get a Premier vs LS or LT) because you get more/full features, but I am not sure if they charge more for that and if it worth to pay the extra cost.
I did look at Costco car rental. It seems that Avis and Budget they have a 3000 Km limit. The only one with, unlimited mileage, it is Enterprise. At least at the offices next to me. Enterprise charges $200 more (compared with Avis and Budget) for 30 days rental with unlimited mileage.

Thx
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2005
4769 posts
1177 upvotes
Scarborough
Every location will be different model as most rental car agencies have contracts with their local dealerships. I usually rent from National because they pretty much just let you choose any car available in the aisle.
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Nov 27, 2003
269 posts
9 upvotes
London
I finally found a website that lists some cars similar to a Mondeo - which is what I hope to get just to change things up, because I can drive a Fusion here.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta - probably the choice for handling
Vauxhall Insignia - icky! It's just a Chevy
Skoda Octavia - no idea, but I think this is a VW Passat platform
Renault Scenic - looks too much like a CUV - probably has a smooth ride
Peugeot 3008 - same as the Renault
Stand and Deliver! I have two pistols here... I know one of them isn't loaded anymore, but the other one is, so that's one of you dead for sure... well just about for sure........
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 7, 2012
32228 posts
8560 upvotes
GTHA
pete5000 wrote: I finally found a website that lists some cars similar to a Mondeo - which is what I hope to get just to change things up, because I can drive a Fusion here.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta - probably the choice for handling
Vauxhall Insignia - icky! It's just a Chevy
Skoda Octavia - no idea, but I think this is a VW Passat platform
Renault Scenic - looks too much like a CUV - probably has a smooth ride
Peugeot 3008 - same as the Renault
The Octavia is built on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform (Golf, Passat, Tiguan, Touran)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswa ... B_platform

Top